IT was the slap heard round the world.
Now, one year after Will Smith stormed the Oscars stage and struck Chris Rock in front of millions of people, the two actors have seen their careers veer in drastically different directions.
ReutersWill Smith hits Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Academy Awards[/caption]
GettyThe rapper-turned-actor said he was defending his wife’s honor[/caption]
Chris was whacked on stage by the A-list star after the comedian made a joke about the Men in Black actor’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s buzz cut, despite it being well known she suffers from the hair loss condition alopecia.
The former Saturday Night Live star stayed mostly silent about the incident, until last weekend.
Chris, 58, eviscerated Will during his new Netflix special, Selective Outrage.
Opening up about the clash, Chris said Will, 54, had an advantage over him because of his size and joked about the film roles they had landed reflecting their physiques.
Chris said of Will: “He played Muhammad Ali! I played Pookie (in New Jack City).
APChris targeted Will in his recent Netflix special[/caption]
“Even in animated movies, I’m a zebra, he’s a f**king shark.”
He got an extra laugh by mocking Will’s 1991 hit song, adding: “I got hit so hard I heard Summertime ringing in my ears.”
With the first Oscar ceremony since the slap set for Sunday, see how the two have spent the past year.
GettyWill confronted Chris onstage[/caption]
When Chris took the stage at the 2022 Oscars, he made an off-the-cuff joke at the expense of Jada.
“Jada, I love you, G. I. Jane 2, can’t wait to see it,” Chris tried to joke.
Demi Moore famously shaved her head for her role in the 1997 movie.
Jada, on the contrary, has been struggling with hair loss for years, and last year decided to shave it all off.
Her husband took offense at the joke and stormed the stage before hitting the presenter with a right hook.
The audio and video feed in the US was cut for several seconds during the shocking incident.
However, international broadcasters aired the entire violent encounter between the two stars.
After the confrontation, a stunned Chris said: “Will Smith just smacked the s**t out of me.”
When the video restarted, Will looked furious, as he yelled at the comedian: “Leave my wife’s name out of your f**king mouth.”
AFPChris composed himself moments after the slap[/caption]
Moments after the slap, Will was awarded the title of Best Actor for his role in King Richard.
During his acceptance speech, he apologized to the Academy and his fellow nominees, saying: “…love will make you do crazy things.”
Will added: “I would also like to apologize to the Academy, the producers of the show, all the attendees, and everyone watching around the world.
“I would like to apologize to the Williams family and my King Richard family.”
The following day, Will took to his Instagram to issue a formal apology.
“Violence in all of its forms is poisonous and destructive,” he began.
“My behavior at last night’s Academy Awards was unacceptable and inexcusable.
“Jokes at my expense are a part of the job, but a joke about Jada’s medical condition was too much for me to bear and I reacted emotionally.”
He continued: “I would like to publicly apologize to you, Chris. I was out of line, and I was wrong.
“I am embarrassed, and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be.
“There is no place for violence in a world of love and kindness.”
GettyChris was treated like a hero after the incident[/caption]
The reaction and outcry was immediate, and just days later, Will was banned from the Oscars for 10 years.
In a statement, the Academy’s Board of Governors “decided, for a period of 10 years, from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards.”
Will also reacted to the decision with his own statement that read: “I accept and respect the Academy’s decision.”
Chris, meanwhile, was greeted by raucous audience members chanting “f**k Will Smith” during his first post-Oscars slap show in Boston.
The funnyman was quick to address the elephant in the room, though he played coy momentarily.
Chris kicked off his show by saying: “How was your weekend?” with a chuckle.
The audience got a laugh out of it, cheering and hooting as he went on.
“I don’t have, like, a bunch of s**t about what happened, so if you came to hear that…I had, like, a whole show I wrote before this weekend and I’m still kind of processing what happened,” he said.
Chris promised: “So, at some point I’ll talk about that s**t and it will be serious and funny.”
Will seekend inner peace far away
The following month, Will flew to India for “spiritual purposes.”
The star headed halfway around the world to find himself and reflect.
Will left with the intention to take a month out to “practice yoga and meditation.”
He previously said he was committed to changing his behavior so he never lashes out again.
AlamyJada gave her take on an episode of her talk show[/caption]
Ahead of her Red Table Talk episode on June 1, 2022. Jada Pinkett Smith touched on the Oscar’s slap.
The Facebook Watch episode centered on the daily struggles of women suffering from alopecia.
While speaking of her struggles, the actress acknowledged the infamous slap by stating the following:
“Now about Oscar night, my deepest hope is that these two intelligent, capable men have an opportunity to heal, talk this out, and reconcile.
“The state of the world today, we need them both. And we all actually need one another more than ever. Until then, Will and I are continuing to do what we have done for the last 28 years, and that’s keep figuring out this thing called life together. Thank you for listening,” she concluded.
THE APOLOGY – PART TWO
YOUTUBE/Will Smithapologized on YouTube[/caption]
On July 29, 2022, Will posted a YouTube video that was over five minutes long to apologize to Chris for his Oscar behavior.
In the video titled, “It’s been a minute…,” Will addressed some common questions people asked after the incident.
When asked why he didn’t apologize to Chris during his acceptance speech, he said: “That point fogged out me. It’s all fuzzy.”
I’ve reached out to Chris, and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk, and when he is, he will reach out,” he added. “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you.”
Will reiterated that he was sorry for his actions and called his behavior “unacceptable.”
“There is no part of me that thinks that was the right way to behave in that moment,” Smith says in the video. “There’s no part of me that thinks that’s the optimal way to handle a feeling of disrespect or insults.”
“It’s like, you know, I made a choice on my own, from my own experiences, from my history with Chris,” Will continued.
“Jada had nothing to do with it. I’m sorry, babe. I wanna say sorry to my kids and my family for the heat that I brought on all of us.”
Apple+Will’s most recent movie is Emancipation[/caption]
While Will was allowed to keep his Best Actor Oscar, his new Apple+ film Emancipation was snubbed by the Academy this year, not receiving a single nod.
But Hollywood doors may be cracking open for the former Fresh Prince.
Insiders say Netflix, which halted talks over a Will biopic, were looking at reopening the negotiations.
A source said: “Will was left out in the cold by Netflix and Apple+ in the wake of the slap.
“He has since apologised and stepped out of the spotlight for a lengthy period. With this in mind it is broadly agreed enough time has passed to let the dust settle.
“It has been made clear discussions can be started again about a biopic which Netflix were interested in.
“Arguably, the slap, and the fallout, are pivotal moments in Will’s life and will become part of the storyline of his life.
“Netflix wants to be part of those conversations and Will’s team have no doubt Apple will follow suit.”
A friend says Will wants to move on
Will “wants to make peace” with Chris, a friend of the actor says.
Speaking exclusively to The U.S. Sun, Will’s Wild Wild West co-star Bai Ling said it’s time to forgive.
“People make mistakes,” Bai said. “The mistake he made was not good. It needs to be recognized and changed.”
Bai expanded, saying we all fall, but now is the time to get back up.
“We have to forgive – we all have made mistakes.”
“When he comes back, he will be a much better person,” she continued. “He will have more power in humbleness and influence people.